Category Archives: seen & heard

meeting ira glass

[I wish I knew the origin of this image]

I once met Ira Glass. I know, how could I have met my hero and not even blog about it? Well, here’s how: I got back to Athens that Sunday and the boy I was seeing at the time very politely bought me coffee and soundly broke up with me in the most romantic spot on campus.  And apparently I had caught a stomach bug over the weekend, because I spent the next 20 hours throwing up absolutely everything inside of me.

This happened back in October. Understandably I just couldn’t get to this story intantly, but gosh, couldn’t I have squeezed some time in to talk about it before? Like over Christmas break? The answer is yes. I definitely could have found the time to write about how amazing it was to meet my idol. I could have found the time to write about how it felt to shake his hand and speak to him — how it felt to know that words from my brain were reaching his brain and he was responding to them! I think these are things only a true fangirl could imagine.

But this blog should be the place where I tell the truth, or at least most of it. And the real truth is that I didn’t want to write a long post on how it felt to meet Ira Glass. Truthfully, it was amazing. I consider it one of the best three nights of my life. But if I had blogged about how he looked older in person than I imagined, I believed I would have just become one of the crowd of 150 or so in the auditorium that night.

Of course there were other people there. And how could I have been his only huge fan? He is a celebrity, an innovator, a big name in journalism — especially for those who are trying to breathe life into their dying, adjective-less newspaper stories that no one wants to read. He is the guy who made things interesting.

[Ira on left, age 20]

There was a journalism class from Augusta State University in the audience that night. He came out after his presentation to answer questions specifically for that class. I hung around the back, pretending to be in the class, too. They were quick to pick his brains on the journalism industry purely because of his position as an established name in the field. I watched as hands went up and students asked again and again for advice on how to be professional journalists. They were all so self-serving. After he gave his email address to one person with an interesting story idea, everyone swarmed, trying to get his email for themselves. Eventually, he told them to just pitch stories to the TAL website.

“Why do you need my email?” he asked.

Well. No one could say. None of us had good story ideas. Not even the guy running for mayor in Macon. He was just trying to get free publicity by an adorable radio softie who could not care less about small-town Georgia politics. Unless the story said something greater about the human condition.

The thing is, everyone in that little crowd was trying so hard to one-up the person before them. They each wanted to be remembered for being the funny one, the clever one, and or the promising one. Because Ira is just the guy who could appreciate a diamond in the rough, like so many of these people felt they were.

Yeah, me too.

When it was finally my turn to meet him and to talk to him, all  I could say was, “I’m Alex. I go to UGA. I want to be you when I grow up.”

He smiled, and he said, “You mean you want to do something like this?”

I looked at the stage behind him where they were cleaning up back, pulling the curtain away and revealing wires and other mechanical-looking things that made the show as magical as it was.

“No,” I told him. “I want to be you. I have that mug, that TAL mug, with you and with the robot host on it. I want to be the robot.”

(Here’s the mug, in case you were wondering.)

He seemed flattered. Or tickled at least that I’d say a silly thing like that. He shook my hand, saying, “Well it’s great to meet you.”

We took a picture together. And then I walked out, my hands shaking.

I’ll admit I was slightly bothered by the girl who held a worn copy of his Radio: An Illustrated Guide. She said she had produced some audio projects on her own through Transom. She hung behind everyone, clearly trying to save herself for his last impression.

Well I can’t go through life worrying about the girl who might be more prepared than I am to meet Ira Glass — the girl who thought to bring her copy of his book so he knew she had been reading it. My only comfort can come from knowing how I felt when he spoke to us about storytelling.

As I sat in the dark auditorium listening to his voice from a few feet away, I knew we were made of the same stuff.


a music post

So normally, I post a song at a time whenever I blog. Usually it’s a song that applies to the post in some way. Maybe it inspired my post. Maybe its lyrics can describe my feelings better than I can. Maybe I just happen to be obsessed with the song at the time.

Today my friend Cynthia asked me to make her a playlist and what a coincidence — I’ve been putting this playlist together on Spotify for a couple of weeks! Sorry to disappoint though, it’s mostly full of throwbacks to those high school days when we explored music for the sake of finding a new “favorite” band no one had heard of. Apparently some of them stuck.

I’m more excited because this is the first time I’m posting a Spotify playlist to my blog. Let’s see how well this works out. Maybe this could become a thing.

PS – if you don’t have Spotify yet, download it! It’s great. Really. You can integrate your iTunes library and the universe’s library all in your computer! You know what that means… no more going to Youtube to sample new songs.


“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”

– Allen Ginsberg

Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon series. 

He installs these glowing moons in places and photographs them, and they’re absolutely stunning. I particularly like this video because it shows how tedious it is to install the moon somewhere to get the gorgeous photo.

what i’ve been up to:

Today is the third and new years resolutions are being made left and right. I realized recently that I see my birthdays and beginnings of school years in the same way that people see New Years. And I have enough resolutions for now, I think. But I can’t discard that fresh, clean, brand new feeling that comes with a writing a new year by hand at the top of a journal entry.

     So in this new year, I hope to bring more beauty into my life.

I hope to be more organized and more conscious of where my thoughts wander to and what that wandering does for my sanity and happiness.

I’ve set a limit of 45 minutes a day for social networking (oh dear) and I predict my Self Control app will become my best friend and my worst enemy in the coming months. The limit is to keep myself from fixating too much on what other people are doing with their lives and wasting time scrolling blankly through my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest dashboards.

I’m thinking of training for another half marathon this summer. It seems to be the only way I can actually stay in shape.

I set a food and coffee budget for myself. No more impulse Two Story stops.

I will write down something I’m grateful for, every day.

I will learn something new each day, even if it is simply a new word from the dictionary.

I will organize my things every night!

I know, these sound an awful lot like resolutions, don’t they? Well, they’re actually stolen from this list, which my friend Amanda sent to me last summer. 100 days from my starting date will be April 11. Maybe I’ll improve my life a little at a time.

In Other News, Here Is A List Of What I Am Currently Up To

– Being ridiculously vain and playing with my chopped off hair every second my hands are free. And even when they aren’t. It’s amazing I didn’t dedicate an entire blog post to it.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

– It’s been on my kindle for a year now. It’s about time.

(That’s Ingrid Michaelson)

– I like how sweet she sounds, like all of her songs are the secret things all girls think while in their rooms strumming a guitar absentmindedly. She just makes it sound prettier. I particularly like The Chain. I like all the voices.

Run Happy.

– I’m missing that new shoe feel. I can’t consider training for another crazy half marathon without new running shoes! :)

There’s not a whole lot going on right now. I leave for Georgia in two days now and then the craziness will pick right up again.

Hopefully by then, I will only need one cup of coffee to get through my day.

on a saturday night,

I wandered into a thrift store today on a whim and picked up Mona Lisa Smile. I’m not going to lie, I only grabbed it because I saw the words “art history” on the back and Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, and Maggie Gyllenhaal on the front. It was a beautiful movie with overtly feminist themes that I completely did not expect. But of course, I’m not complaining. It dealt with the idea that marriage and motherhood with both lead to death, an idea I’ve often struggled with. I’ve seen marriage as the death of my career, my creativity, my freedom, and my happiness. What the movie didn’t pay enough attention to, in my opinion, is the third possibility in the debate between family and professional life, which is the marriage of the two. I’d like to think that if I were to ever get married and have children, I would be able to maintain my career and my sanity. I think I’m just selfish enough for that. But ultimately, I think it makes you a better mother in the end if all of your efforts and happiness do not rest upon the success or failure of these little people with your eyes and your husband’s mannerisms. Anyway, I won’t talk your head off tonight about feminist approaches to having children.

I’ve had this one bottle of perfume for the last ten months — a boy bought it for me as a gift and so now whenever I spray it on I get flashbacks. That whole smell–>memory thing is so, so real. So I’d rather not relive those memories every morning. I went to a store downtown this afternoon and picked up a new bottle of perfume and had it gift-wrapped for myself. Happy birthday, to me? I still have two weeks, but I was in a self-indulgent mood today. Now that I’ve finished my movie and had my dinner, I’m just in the mood to sit in my bed for the rest of the night, read my books (Baby Love and Two Wrongs Make a Vice) and listen to music that was recorded before my parents were born.

It’s a nice night to spend with myself.

considering musical effects.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop studying for midterms. Normally I’d plug my ear buds in but it’s quiet today and I feel like listening to the overhead music and eavesdropping on baristas’ conversations. Two guys talking about knitting rugs for their houses. It’s really cute, and it’s a little reassuring that there are at least two men right in front of me who aren’t so obsessed with fitting gender roles that they can comfortably knit a green cap behind the coffee bar. A tree across the street is red at its tips; all the other trees around it are still green but this one tree announces that my favorite season of the year is almost here.  Every year I feel older in the fall, although by the time spring rolls around I look back at my naïve fall-time self and chuckle at how hopeful I was.

The music is really nice right now though. I’m not sure what’s playing – it sounds like Band of Horses. It’s a methodic, sad guitar, fingers floating over the frets propelled by mostly love, though it’s sad. The song is about an alluring girl, one that couldn’t be touched, couldn’t be reached. When they were needed most, the words stumbled out of his lips but fell straight to the floor and they never reached her. She never knew.  But these words are attached to notes that lift them up. They float through the air even now, even years after the fire that fueled the composition has dampened. The notes still float around, and they’ve traveled. They’ve traveled all the way to Athens where they fall on my ears – ears that weren’t the intended audience but on which the music has the intended effect anyway. Feelings are fleeting, especially the specifics, but the results of creative endeavors that emerge from meditation on those feelings – they last forever. They last as long as there is an audience to receive them.

you remind me of home

I’ve been pretty homesick all week for a home that isn’t really my home. I suppose Hawaii is more of a home than anywhere else I’ve lived, at least thus far. It’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place, but Georgia will pass that mark in a couple of years. It’s weird to think of myself as “from Georgia,” which is what I think I’ll inevitably become after I’ve lived here longer than six years. I’ve spent most of this week missing old and new friends from Hawaii though, which is so silly because I’m back in the town full of people I’ve been craving for three months.

I’ve noticed myself taking on my mother’s characteristics lately too. I’ve become so much tidier and I’ve been craving dark chocolate. The sore throat from sorority recruitment practice craves ginger tea with honey in it, just like mommy made it. I’ve noticed myself printing out more pictures of my family and wanting to brag to my friends about them.

I’ve never been a particularly homey person — I don’t normally get very homesick at all. I think it’s because of all the summers I’ve spent away from home and all the times I’ve had to leave a town full of people I love for a brand new adventure. I’ll say it now though: I’m homesick. Whether it’s coming out now from exhaustion, lack of privacy, or just built-up repressed feelings, I’m homesick nonetheless.

For now, Pi Phi has become my home away from home. How cheesy is that? I remember all the girls who told me that during rush last year. I disregarded it then, but I guess something in the last month and a half has clicked since then. Athens is my town and I really don’t have family anywhere close to me at all. My friends are my family here. They’re the ones who drive me to my appointments and who support me and hold me accountable for my actions. They’re the ones I brag my accomplishments to and they’re the ones who ask me if I’m okay when I’m feeling moody.

And this house. Can I talk about this house? I love how the wood on the staircase feels when I patter down the steps on my way to breakfast. Feels like home.

Rush starts tomorrow. This time I’m on the other side of things, picking the next crop of girls who will call this place home. Hopefully they will be lucky enough to feel the same way I do.

I’m in for quite the week.

a bit about azure ray

Oh you know. I’m just sitting on my bed, wasting my life away. Writing some things here, painting my nails, and adding music to my iTunes library. It’s too hot to go outside and my Red&Black meeting isn’t for another hour or so.

I really love Azure Ray, and “Sleep” was the first song of theirs I ever heard. But here’s my deal with “Sleep.” It’s scares me, a lot. The song does. Because it has this ability to shoot me back in time instantly to my junior year of high school. It sounds like Custer Road on a spring evening, just a few weeks before the pollen starts flying to make my allergies go crazy. The sun’s going down and I’m almost blinded by the orange light streaming through my windshield. The air is cool because I’m driving so quickly. I have a bracelet made of UV sensitive beads that light up different colors in the sunlight. It’s scary how instantly this song takes me back. I go back to falling in love with nooks of Columbus I never would have noticed if it weren’t for this friendship. My sweaters have stains on the left forearms and elbows from my art class. I feel so much older but I’m still terribly naive. I do my best to grab the fleeting bits of maturity and interest that are flying my way, discarded by others as surplus. I haven’t even thought of the future. I have to apply to college in the next year but I’m only worried about who I’m going to prom with. The future seems so far away and the present stretches infinitely forward.

Somewhat seamlessly though, the plot shifted and I morphed and morphed again. I still feel like it’s 2009. I still feel 17. I don’t understand how two years have passed already. When I look at myself, comparing past and present side-by-side, I am very much a different person. But I don’t feel any older.


I’ve read a few books by John Irving and they were all very good.


You know when you finally finish a book that you’ve been reading for a good seven months and your heart is beating so quickly and your hands are sweaty and the world stands still for a good thirty pages till the final scene and you finally realize how everything comes together?

That just happened.


For Cynthia

I just spent a good hour compiling this playlist for my friend, Cynthia. It’s my mood lately in ten songs. I know, it’s really darn short.

I used to love making mixes for people so much. It seemed to me that so much could be communicated by trading cds with someone you care about and I found so much joy in pairing the perfect songs together for the exact intended effect. My cds have become like photo albums for me; all I have to do is pop an oldie into the cd player and suddenly I’m a junior in high school again, experiencing a brand new type of freedom and relishing every moment.

God, here I am gushing about mixed cds. How cliché. But if there is one thing about this summer I’m excited for, it’s the cds in the car. I’ll be back with my huge binder of them and they’ll keep me perfect company on those long, warm days.

PS- Dear Friends, please make me mixes to bring to Hawaii. I know I’ve bugged you all enough, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to nag a bit more.